Arthenia Filer is responsible for raising awareness about child abuse in school children from all areas of the city of Huntsville and Madison County. For the past five years, she has served as the most dependable and expert volunteer for SCAN (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect). As a SCAN Volunteer, Arthenia presents programs to children in the third, fifth and seventh grades using hip examples, including anecdotes, to illustrate points about child abuse. She also uses her extensive volunteer experience to train new volunteers for SCAN and assist staff with presentations at the National Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse, the second largest conference held in Huntsville.
In the youth-dominated environment of the school classroom, Arthenia is a grandmother who engages the students in lively discussions about child abuse and its implications. To the third and fifth grade classes, she presents a program called "Inside/Outside" and to her seventh graders she presents "Come In From The Storm." Over the years, she has learned to adjust to difficult situations with the students and handle talkative or inattentive classes. She has received excellent evaluations from teachers and counselors who observe her presentations. Also, Arthenia was the recipient of the 1998 JCPenney Golden Rule Award in the Adult category.
Her affiliation with SCAN allows her to reach a large audience because its school-based child abuse prevention program is the largest in the state of Alabama. The program involves a massive undertaking to reach 20,000 students. During the 1996-97 school year, the programs reached 10,079 students. Although sometimes difficult to teach because of the subject matter (incest, anger management, and physical and sexual abuse), Arthenia has proven she is able to handle these topics in a delicate, yet appropriate manner that the children can understand. In some instances, Arthenia is able to identify and discuss abusive situations that have happened to some youth, which acts as a source of empowerment and often leads to the healing and strengthening of families. She often works 50-75 hours per month in a show of amazing dedication to ensure that the programs are completed and beneficial to students.